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Long list of riots in the land of Apostle of non-violence 

New Delhi (Dateline India): More than ten thousand dead bodies, burnt and destroyed buildings and houses worth more than fifty billion rupees, too much of noise, smoke, fire, commotion, disturbance etc. This is not the scene of a battle field. These are half and incomplete statistics compiled as a result of communal violence during the last ten years in our country which dreams of non-violence as its ultimate objective. These statistics are half and incomplete because basically these are government statistics and whatever the government and whosoever may be its head, figures are always given in percentages and accurate even to decimals. There is a long and unlimited list of cities and towns like Meerut, Moradabad, Nellie, Patna, Bhagalpur, Aligarh, Hashimpura, Bareilly, Surat, Baroda, Bhiwandi where people were killed and burnt alive, bellies of pregnant women were cut open, foetuses were taken out, killed and thrown into fire, old people soaked in kerosene oil and set on fire or burning tyres put around their necks. A sick woman was stripped and taken out in procession. Crowds, victims of harassment and violence, going to crematoriums or graveyards for performing the last rites of their dead were not allowed to come out.

Who are the people who fear even home guards in their normal lives but set police vehicles on fire during riots. Which kind of system is it which has sufficient time at its disposal so as to incite riots in a single night and also arrange for provision of killing weapons and petrol bombs etc for a large area. Wherein lies the weakness of a government which on one side has the courage to equip itself with a large and powerful army and nuclear weapons to challenge a whole country but on the other side does not allow it to muster enough courage to remove a government which has been condemned and proved criminal and good-for-nothing by one and all?

This is common but misplaced thinking that only those people take part in riots who have no work. As every body must have seen on TV, during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in Delhi and recent riots in Ahmadabad, Surat, Godhra etc which are still going on, even prosperous middle class people who are otherwise busy in their normal lives in various official and household jobs like purchasing provisions, sending their children to schools etc are taking part in looting and other unsocial acts. All this is either the changing face of the changing well-off society or it proves that we are taking the retrograde step of returning to pre-historic days. Both these trends do not bode well for the future.

A government camp was set up for the children of those who were killed in Bhagalpur riots. This camp, which was housed in a building which remained incomplete, worked well for two years but thereafter, as people forgot about the riots and circumstances changed, this camp lost its existence. First these children became orphans, thereafter they became homeless. Recently, there was an encounter between the police and a group of goondas in which two persons were killed. One of them was the initial orphan of Bhagalpur riots who had by the time of encounter become a spoilt youngman.

Children who were quite young or even infants at the time of anti-Sikh riots in 1984 have now become grown-ups and young. They had seen their parents and other near relatives being killed or burnt alive whose memory must be fresh in their minds. If they commit more revengeful act against the society or their enemies, we should not be surprised. What really should be surprising is that during the last ten or fifteen years none of the culprits and criminals, whether of the serial bombing cases and riots of Mumbai, anti-Sikh riots of Delhi or several cases of communal riots of Meerut and elsewhere, has been punished.

It is also surprising that among the people who were accused of murder or arson in communal riots in broad day light and before the eyes of every body and arrested, there was no important and well-known person whereas names of MPs and even ministers directly involved in fanning and leading the rioting mobs have been forthcoming. Those who were accused and arrested after the riots were booked for other crimes and generally under Arms Act.

If communal violence is not treated as a serious crime in our country, there is equally no harm in concluding that our religious impartiality is simply on paper, counterfeit and hollow. 
(Translated from Rashtriya Sahara Urdu, 14 April 02)

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